Should you trust your marketing to a PR agency?

Not that long ago, there were PR people and there were marketing people, with very little crossover. So when Media Relations Agency CEO Lonny Kocina was invited to PR University to discuss his Strategically Aimed Marketing (SAM 6®) process, it signaled a big shift. We’re not there yet, but PR people know the writing’s on the wall. They need to know and understand marketing because the lines between the two skill sets are definitely blurring.

PR is about building relationships. There’s product PR, which is part of what we do. There’s also investor relations … employee relations … crisis management … it’s all about mediation and managing perception. Marketing is closely aligned with advertising. It’s about selling. Historically, companies didn’t go to a PR agency to manage their advertising; and they didn’t ask their marketing agency to write their press releases. 

But that was back when the media consisted of just TV, radio, magazines and newspapers. Today, thanks in great part to the internet, journalism is fragmented. Much of the storytelling is now in the hands of companies and individuals. Consumers are more accepting of this crossover, even as the content has become more commercialized. 

When Lonny addressed a room filled with PR professionals at PR University, they were there to learn how to better navigate this new reality. PR and marketing can be managed by the same agency, and these PR professionals are realizing they must have both skill sets. They need to know the marketing language, concepts and principles. 

A successful blending of PR and marketing skills requires a very clear, simple process that can be applied in virtually any situation. It can be done. As a hybrid agency, Media Relations Agency has provided PR and marketing services for decades using the same steps now outlined in the SAM 6 marketing process. 

When Lonny first started his career in direct market advertising, he loved using PR as a sales tool. By the time we launched Media Relations Agency, using PR to market products was already second nature to him. I was in the audience during his PR University presentation. I sat a little taller when he stated how proud he is of our team for their expertise in running all aspects of our clients’ campaigns including PR, marketing and advertising. 

Based on their follow-up questions, the PR University attendees were clearly interested in learning more about how the Strategically Aimed Marketing process will enable them to succeed in this rapidly evolving industry.

There are still places where PR and marketing don’t intersect. For example, marketing isn’t about investor relations. But as Lonny remarked, “PR is stepping into the marketing role as PR professionals learn to use it as another avenue to sell.” He added, “It is much more challenging for a PR person to figure out how to do marketing than for a marketing person to figure out how to use PR and the media as a sales tool.” 

Lonny is fond of saying, “Companies used to bring money to a PR firm in a shoebox, and money to an ad agency in a dump truck.” Most companies have more interest in investing in actions that help sell products not nurture relationships. Our clients make those deliveries to the same agency! 

Media Relations Agency knows how to blur the lines between PR and marketing. In reality, we tore down those walls decades ago which makes us nimble as new technologies and platforms go mainstream. The result is a more consistent, on-point, integrated campaign that reaches audiences on multiple platforms. Contact us to learn more, either using this form or by calling 952-697-5269.

Written by Robin Kocina

Robin Kocina is a proven marketing industry leader who has been instrumental in growing Media Relations Agency, a top performance-based PR agency, from its inception in 1987 to its current status as a successful integrated marketing agency with international clientele and multi-million dollar revenues. As President, Kocina now concentrates her efforts on the agency’s direction and fiscal growth, as well as new business development in the company’s Minnesota and Florida offices. Kocina’s financial acumen is evidenced by her recognition as a Top Women in Finance Circle of Excellence (Finance & Commerce, 2013) as well as Top Women in Finance (Finance & Commerce, 2010). A highly regarded community leader, Kocina believes strongly in sharing her marketing and leadership skills through community service. She served as chairman of the board for Depart Smart. She also serves on the Leadership Board for the National Federation of Independent Business, and actively involved with the Women’s Presidents Organization. She is a past board member and Chairman of the Board for WomenVenture. Robin is the recipient of numerous honors for her leadership and community involvement: Inductee into the Women Business Owners Hall of Fame (2018); Exceptional Businesswoman Award (2016); Volunteer of the Year (Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, 2010); 25 Women to Watch (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 2008); Upsize Lifeline Award (Upsize Magazine, 2008); Standing Ovation Award (Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, 2006) and Luminary Award (National Association of Women Business Owners, Minnesota Chapter, 2005).

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